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Art Techniques Creativity & Arts

Art Techniques

Are you a budding Picasso or Kahlo? Our Art Techniques online course will develop your skills in drawing and painting, and spark your enthusiasm and creativity, as you embark on your artistic journey.


Written by practising artists, our Art Techniques online course is perfect if you want to build and develop your existing art skills. Previous students of this popular course often pursue their art studies long after course completion,  with some eventually progressing to degree level.

From still life and the human figure, to getting to know your materials and the use of themes, this course explores the key techniques you need to draw and paint successfully. You’ll study and practise a range of core concepts such as line, tone, shape, perceptive and colour, as well as gaining an understanding of leading artists, both past and present.

Critically, our Art Techniques online course will encourage you to draw, whenever and wherever you can! This will improve your practical skills at a fast pace, whilst also enabling you to move in new, fresh creative directions!

Why study Art Techniques?

If you enjoy drawing and painting, relish creative thinking and have an interest in learning more about famous artists, our Art Techniques online course is the perfect choice!

Whether you’re a doodler, have dabbled with water colours, oil paints or pastels – this practical course invites to expand your current skills across a range of media. Working at your own pace, using fully-illustrated, accessible course materials, with the support of an expert tutor, you’ll expand your technical knowledge and experience.

Our Art Techniques online course is ideal if you:

  • Are a keen artist, either amateur or just starting out.
  • Would like practical help and advice on how to improve your drawing and painting.
  • Are interested in learning more about famous artists.
  • Want to apply your artistic skills more effectively and enhance your technique.
  • Enjoy exploring different media and techniques.
  • Are studying another artistic course and want to complement your existing studies.

Future opportunities

  • Studying our Art History course, or Art at GCSE or A level.
  • Developing art techniques opens up a wide range of rewarding career paths in areas such as illustration, design, fashion, architecture and education.

Course content

Section 1: Introduction   

  • Getting to know your materials
  • Drawing from objects
  • Tone and negative space

Section 2: Still life

  • Subjects and groupings
  • Associations and symbols
  • Light and perspective
  • Colour
  • Painting from studies
  • Composition

Section 3: The human figure

  • Introducing the figure
  • From experiment to practice
  • Drawing the standing figure
  • Drawing seated and reclining figures
  • The 15-minute figure painting
  • Painting from longer poses

Section 4: Themes

  • Working from a theme
  • From drawing to painting
  • Place and movement
  • A theme of your own
  • Abstraction and expressionism

Study Art Techniques with us and benefit from:

  • Flexible learning
  • Support from a personal tutor by email, phone or Skype
  • Any time enrolment
  • Assignments with tutor feedback
  • Ongoing support from Student Support
  • Forums to discuss your course with other students


Choose when and where you access your course, using learn@nec our 24/7 learning platform.

This easy-to-use learning platform includes interactive checkpoints, quizzes and activities to help you evaluate your progress.

Our course tutors

You’ll have access to support from a personal tutor. All NEC tutors are subject experts, with experience of supporting online learners.

Meet Jane who is just one of our first-class art tutors:

“I’ve been involved in distance education for many years, and have been a practising artist all my adult life. In my own creative practice, my main interests are in drawing, illustration, printmaking, animation and painting, and also digital art. Learning to draw is the platform for a satisfying creative adventure with art: looking intensively at the work of other artists is essential to developing your own work. My knowledge of art history means I can pinpoint examples of artists to help you develop your own practice. I have a first degree in Fine Art and English and a PGCE in Art Education.”

What you need to know


  • Online learning with support from a personal tutor

Entry requirements

  • No previous painting or drawing skills are required.
  • An ability to read and write in English


  • Complete at your own pace
  • Approx. 80 study hours, plus time for completing assignments


  • 10 assignments


  • No additional set texts required


  • Internet access
  • Computer operating system and browser to support learn@nec

You will need acrylic paints in the following colours:

  • Cadmium red
  • Crimson
  • Cadmium yellow
  • Raw umber
  • Ultramarine blue
  • Monestial, Phthalo or Jenkins green
  • Yellow ochre
  • Black
  • White

We recommend buying medium-size tubes for every colour except white, as these will contain around 38ml (depending on the manufacturer). The exception is white as you will  require more of this colour, so we recommend a 120ml size tube. The above is a basic list to start you off; if you have particular preferences of your own, add them in.


  • You will need the following brushes and drawing media:


  • You will need some large hog-hair brushes and some fairly small ones. The particular sizes are not important so long as you have a range of different sizes.


  • At least two soft, round sable or synthetic equivalent brushes, e.g. sizes 4 and 6.


Drawing media

  • HB, 2B and 4B pencils
  • Conté crayons in at least black and white colours
  • A small bottle of black drawing ink and a drawing pen (experiment with different types of drawing ink, and other types of pen such as felt tips if possible)


  • Fixative for pencil and/or charcoal drawings
  • A soft eraser
  • You will need the following paper, board and easels:
  • Medium-weight white cartridge paper (about 120/m2 or 60lb) in at least sizes A4 and A2.


  • Smooth drawing board (e.g. piece of plywood or block board around 15mm thick)


  • Drawing pins, drawing-board clips, bulldog clips or masking tape
  • An easel would be useful if you have one, but this is not required
  • You will need the following additional equipment:
  • Metric ruler and a metal straight edge of about 60cm
  • Stanley knife or sharp scissors
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Water pots
  • Rags or kitchen paper for wiping and cleaning up
  • Sketchbook of at least A3 size
  • Smaller sketchbook that can fit in a pocket or bag
  • Notebook for written notes which you will need to keep throughout your course

What's included?

Our course fees are 100% transparent to help you plan for any additional costs.

Your course fee includes:

  • Access to learn@nec
  • Course materials to enable you to complete the course
  • Support from a personal tutor for up to 12 months from your date of enrolment
  • Assignment marking
  • NEC’s guide to study skills: How to Succeed as an Independent Learner
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar guide
  • Time planner to help you plan your study timetable

Your course fee does not cover:

  • The cost of the additional resources such as paints, brushes, pens, pencils, paper and board, sketchbooks, etc…

Arrange a call back with a member of our Course Advice Team

Would you like to talk to our Course Advice Team about the best route for you? Visit our Contact Us page, fill in the form and a member of the team will get back to you!